The Faed Family arrived on Jethou on the 29th of September 1964. There was no electricity as the generator had disintegrated in a spectacular fashion, it's flywheel carving an impressive groove into the concrete bed sometime before we arrived. Lighting was by paraffin lamps until the new generator was installed and running on the 30th of October 1964. As the generator was generally only run at night, or for educational daytime TV, many alternate power sources were used. in the main house and the cafe the fridges ran on bottled gas, there was even an ice-cream deep freeze in the cafe that ran on paraffin! This belonged to one of the Ice-cream companies whose engineers believed it to be the only one still owned by them in use. Cooking in the Cafe was by gas and in the main house, by a coke fuelled Aga.
Water was pumped from the well to the reservoir by an aging diesel engine and just about everything else was man or occasionally donkey powered! the purchase of a small mini tractor soon took the load off various farming activities and there was a three wheeled transport called a "wriggly" this was rather unstable and was inclined to tip over if not driven with care.
|The text below is taken directly from the Jethou guide book as amended and added to by Angus Faed and sold to visitors when Jethou was open to the public between 1965 and 1971. I have split up the text exactly as it was split between pages in the guide book with the original page number shown in the top corners, but I have not included the black and white photographs that were in the centre of the guidebook, these will be shown separately if I can scan them to a high enough quality.|
The Peaceful Island
The tenants and staff of Jethou welcome you and hope that the time you spend on this little Island will always remain in your memory, by virtue of the tranquility and beauty of its nature.
On landing, which if it is about high water time, will be on the ramp, you will see ahead of you the large wooden building known as the ‘boathouse,’ for its original function was to shelter the boat owned by Sir Compton Mackenzie, tenant of Jethou from 1923 to 1934.
On the East side of the boathouse, facing Herm, there is an outline map of Jethou from which you can tell the most sheltered side of the Island at that time. Adjacent to the map is a list of those things available in the Café and Gift Shop.
Should you arrive when the landing of passengers is on the little stone Jetty, the boathouse will be on your right on reaching the land.
For those who wish to walk round before taking refreshment in the Café, small unobtrusive notices are numerous and we advise that they follow the ‘Lower Path’ sign.
Those visiting the Café however will be able to obtain a map of the Island indicating all places of interest and which shows all the pathways and beaches.
Whether you follow the ‘Lower Path’ notice as a start to your walk or not, do not fail to visit the ‘Puffin View Point’ whence you can observe the birds. This is clearly indicated by a notice and is about 100 yards from the boathouse to the left of the Lower Path. The rapid flight, diving
and swimming ability of these delightful, colourful, and somewhat comic birds, is a constant source of interest from mid-March to mid-July, their season of residence in Jethou. The puffins nest in holes in the cliff which are virtually inaccessible. Like all birds in the Island, apart from ravens, sparrows and magpies, they are protected by law.
From the point of view of coastal scenery, Jethou equals, though on a smaller scale, anything found in the other Channel Isles, and views from the cliff paths of the sea, the cleanest coastal water of all the Islands, is inspiring because of the varied and lovely colours of the rocks and seaweed seen through the clear water.
In Jethou the scenery is remarkably varied considering the small area it covers. The East coast is rocky and very steep and accessible only to experienced climbers. If you continue along the lower path after leaving ‘Puffin View Point’ you will see a notice on the right indicating a path leading to Fairy Wood, for those who wish to visit this delightful copse and grove before exploring the rest of the Island. However if you continue on the lower path, a further 80 yards will bring you to the Creux du Diable (Devil’s Hole) a natural formation in the shape of a funnel-like hole about 100 feet in depth, breached by the sea at the bottom through an archway of rock. At high water spring-tide, the sea enters the bottom of the hole and frequently, during the winter, leaves driftwood on the little beach within.
Ahead again some 60 yards a good path and steps leads to Fauconnière beach. The boulders and pebbles of this beach are very smooth and there are comfortable rocks to lie on or against, rounded to soft contours by the sea. Bathing is safe here except between Grande and Petite Fauconnière.
If the visitor by-passes the beach just described, he will find that the path levels out considerably. To the right are the Terraces which are near-level areas supported by walls of granite boulders overgrown with turf and undergrowth. These Terraces, the construction of which by hand now
seems impossible, are reputed to have grown vines and to be about 1,000 years old.
Continuing along the path a notice on the left indicates the path leading down to a large rock pool which is a natural formation, deepened by the present tenants by blocking outlets. The pool, in a position sheltered from most winds, is always deep enough for a swim and is useful when the tide is too low on the near-by beach. Proceeding along the path you will now be on the West coast, where there are several rocky inlets quite accessible and very suitable for sunbathing or swimming. To the left of and very close to the path is a large nesting area for gulls, there being several hundred birds here. Do not attempt to take their eggs or you may be severely pecked.
Further on, the path rises between walls of gorse to the South entrance of Keithoim Wood. For those who wish to rest a while a seat is placed on the left just before the trees are reached. Some twenty yards further on is a meeting of five paths, one on the left leading to Caragoon Bay, which is directly below the dwelling house and is a good beach for children, having a patch of sand and rock pools. The path directly ahead is private, that on the right taking you either through the wood or to the upper path, depending on whether you turn right or left. We recommend that you take the woodland path, which in spring is dappled with large patches of bluebells and primroses. Soon the path leads to the ‘main road’ to the summit of Jethou, passing under a large variety of trees and emerging quite suddenly on the relatively flat plateau of some twenty vergées in area which forms the top of the Island. In July and August a large area of heather in brilliant flower is to be seen, the scent of which is, at times, almost overpowering. Following the path, which skirts the field on your left you will arrive at the ‘Observation point’ where a signpost indicates the direction and distance of the other Islands and the coast of the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy—all these points can be seen in clear weather.
A seat nearby affords a rest and a magnificent panorama extending from Guernsey northwards to the famous Casquets lighthouse and Alderney and in the near distance the vast area of rocks stretching from Bréhon Tower to Herm and Jethou.
Continuing along the path, which dips down quickly to Fairy Wood and the Grove, sacred to the ancient pre-Christian religious sect, who erected the menhir at the North exit of the grove and other stone monuments in Jethou. The Grove, a clear area in the midst of Fairy Wood is, in spring time, a mass of bluebells interspersed with primroses—the magnificence and brilliant colour of these flowers is unsurpassed anywhere and has been frequently described as ‘breathtaking’.
A path leaves the Grove down several steps on to the Upper Path which, to the right circles the Island as far as the Pulpit Rocks above the West Coast, thence downhill to join with the Lower Path just inside the South entrance to the wood.
On leaving the Grove, if you wish to reach the Café and landing area, turn left and follow the signposts.
For those who want to laze in the air and sun an area of land covered with short turf overlooks Caragoon Bay on the North East side and can be easily reached by following the Upper Path notice as far as that indicating Caragoon Bay thence follow the latter notice. The distance from the Café is a mere 200 yards.
Fauna of Jethou
The most remarkable point of the Fauna of Jethou is the lack of it!
There are no mice or shrews, no moles or squirrels, no hedgehogs or voles and very few rats but far too many rabbits a remarkable fact is that all the above mentioned mammals are prolific in near-by Jersey with the exception of squirrels, which are scarce.
Apart from slow-worms which are very numerous there are no reptiles in Jethou neither frogs, toads, snakes, or lizards.
By contrast the Island abounds with birds of many varieties. The writer, who is not an ornithologist, has observed the following kinds and many others unknown to him; wrens, robins, ravens, chaffinches, magpies, blackbirds, thrushes, goldfinches, curlews, woodcock, hedge-sparrows, house sparrows, wild pigeons, ring doves, great-fits, bullfinches, swallows, swifts, house-martins, missel thrushes, sparrow hawks, cuckoos and kestrels.
Amongst sea and coastal birds are; herring-gulls, greater and lesser black-backed gulls, cormorants, shags, oyster catchers, razor bills, guillemots, puffins, terns and herons.
Blue tits seem absent but bullfinches are seen from time to time.
Wild flowers are prolific, but not in great variety. The most prolific is the bluebell which is found all round the Island. Primroses are also very common and large and occur everywhere except between an area from a point in line with Rouge Fauconnière extending to the gorse area on the North West slopes.
Campion of various kinds is very prolific especially on the Western slopes.
Some years see a magnificent display of Ragwort. I am told that a large wild Arum lily is of great rarity and is common in an area not open to the public.
Ferns seem to be varied and extensive.
Gorse is only free flowering on the North West slopes but broom is absent, as is blackthorn.
Trees are in average variety but few are large. Amongst those which I consider indigenous are oaks, elms, chestnut, beech, ilex (evergreen oak), elder, sycamore, ash, quickthorn and possibly birch.
Many trees have been introduced including aspens, black and silver poplar, cypress, scotch pine, larch, common fir and one eucalyptus.
That Jethou was a place of ancient religious practice is indicated by the presence of the menhirs, the remains of a dolmen, and the Grove in Fairy Wood. Many claim to feel an air of mystery and brooding in this ancient grove.
A few flint implements were found in 1959 and the writer himself un-earthed a small stone axe-head when ploughing on top of the Island in 1967, but there is otherwise as yet, no evidence that pre-historic man had a settlement in Jethou.
There is evidence to show that the Channel Islands were joined to France until about 3,500 B.C. though Jersey was probably not separated until a later date, a supposition supported by the considerable difference in the flora and fauna of Jersey when compared with that of Sark, Guernsey, Herm and Jethou.
The first recorded mention of Jethou is in the use of its Viking name of Keitholm probably a corruption of the words Keithou’ meaning a ‘place of roaring’ and ‘Holm’ meaning Island. This appears to refer to the noise of air being forced through the passage into the Creux du Diable by the sea, this no longer occurs but undoubtedly this is because the passage has become much larger with the course of time. In Jersey where there is a very much larger Creux and a longer and narrower passage, I have witnessed this phenomenal noise on a Spring tide and it is most impressive. Gradually through a series of corrupted pronunciation the name Keitholm became Jethou.
In 1028 Duke Robert of Normandy, gave the Island to his ‘Admiral’ Restald for some service he had performed.
Restald, on his retirement from active life and to gain his entrance to the Monastery of Mont St. Michelin Normandy, bequeathed Jethou to the Monks of that Establishment, in effect to secure for his old age a home and the wherewithal to live.
In 1158 a certain Guillaume Chesney was granted the tenancy by Prince John Earl of Montaine, how this was arranged is not known but on Chesney’s death it reverted to Mont St. Michel.
In 1270 Prince Edward granted to Sir William de Chesney the right of keeping a warren in the Channel Islands—this was in Jethou, so the rabbits whose descendants are still with us, must have already been here
On Sir William’s death the Island reverted to the representative of Mont St. Michel in Guernsey, namely the Abbot of the Vale Priory.
As a result of an Act of Parliament under Henry V in 1414 the French Monasteries in the Channel Islands were suppressed and Jethou passed from the hands of Mont St. Michel after 350 years.
It is believed however that other Benedictine Monks occupied the Island for another 100 years.
It also seems likely that these Monks constructed the anti-erosion wall and ditch, which encompasses about half the coastline, together with the walls of the terraces and the massive protective and dividing stone walls so extensive in Jethou.
Until 1717 Jethou was not inhabited, except at times by pirates, but in that year a Mr. Charles Nowall of London rented both Herm and Jethou from the Crown. It is believed that the mulberry tree in the grounds of Keitholm was planted during this tenancy.
In 1737 a Mr. Charles Mauger took over the tenancy. When Mr. Mauger died in 1758 his two sons-in-law together with their wives became joint tenants.
The large ruin to the South West of the present house apparently existed at this time but the exact date of construction of the oldest part of the present dwelling is not known, though a print of 1820 shows a two storied house on the sight of the ruin, just across the track from the Café and this building is believed to date from about 1690.
In 1831 there were fourteen people living in Jethou and a new house was under construction which is probably the two storied disused cottage to the S.E. of Keitholm, now used as a store-house.
In 1779 a Henry de Jersey became tenant and when he died in 1781 his son, also Henry, took over the lease which he held until 1800 when one Phillip de Quesnel took over the tenancy which he held for 21 years, when it passed to the joint tenancy of Edward Falla, Peter le Cocq, Nicholas
Le Feuvre and Peter de Lisle. These tenants apparently only held the lease for one year since in 1822 a certain Jean Allaire became tenant. This gentleman was the owner of Guernsey’s Privateers. One day when wallpaper was being stripped from the walls in the old house, a bystander picked up a piece of the paper to light his pipe and found that it was backed by half a banknote—most of the wallpaper had already been burnt and although the remains was at once put out, only four mutilated notes were saved.
One of Jean Allaire’s daughters married a Mr. Collings and their direct descendant, a Miss Collings, inherited the Seigneurship from her father and is the present Dame de Sercq.
Jean gave up his tenancy in 1852 and the States of Guernsey took over the Island for quarrying granite, which they continued to do for four years. The States during this time quarried away nearly half the North side of Crevichon and the ruins of the blacksmith’s shop is still to be seen facing Jethou.
In 1856 a Mr. Gee of London took over the Island but the lease specified that the Queen held the right to work any mines or quarries. The lease also stated that the Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey should have the right to shoot rabbits on Jethou, this latter right was revoked in 1867 when a new lease was prepared.
In 1863 the Island was let to Messrs. Perry Lindell and Giffard of London.
In 1867 a remarkable man became tenant of both Jethou and Herm. He was Lieutenant-Colonel Montague Fielden from the North of England. Fielden had the crazy idea of building a floating causeway between Herm and Jethou— this, in spite of the fact that a strong tide runs for nine hours out of every twelve through this passage and during South Easterly wind a most vicious sea builds up. Needless to say the Government gave permission for this hare-brained scheme ! However it was never constructed.
The Colonel had a retinue of Bretons and Welshmen on Jethou who fired on passing fishermen. The reason for this violence is not surprising since Fielden was caught smuggling brandy from France to Dorset, using the Island as a storehouse. From that date, until Compton Mackenzie held the Islands for a short time, no tenant could lease both Islands. From 1877 to 1890 the Island was in the hands of caretakers. In the latter year Sir Austin Lee became tenant and held the Island until 1918.
In 1899 Sir Austin sub-let the Island to a Mr. Guy, while he was fighting in the Boer War, on Lee’s return in 1902 Guy refused to give up the Island, a court case resulted in 1904 which dragged on until 1910 when judgement in favour of Sir Austin was given. By this time he was a member of the British Embassy in Paris and never returned to Jethou, before he died in 1918. The Treasury installed a Mr. John Drillot as caretaker in 1919.
In 1920 Sir Compton Mackenzie became tenant of Herm he also got permission to take over Jethou. In 1923 the excessive cost of the two Islands, plus certain clauses in the lease of Herm, caused Sir Compton to part with Herm to Sir Percival Perry. During Sir Compton Mackenzie’s tenancy his faithful retainer, Mr. MacDonald, constructed, assisted by his young nephew, a whole new wing 80ft. long by 27ft. wide. The difficulties of such building, with lack of transport, must have been almost overwhelming. At the same time Mr. MacDonald installed a modern sewage disposal system which lasted until this year, when the present tenant reconstructed the outfall. During Sir Compton’s tenancy he published ‘ Fairy Gold’ a delightful romance about Herm and Jethou, though the names of the Islands have been changed in the book.
Sir Compton left in 1934 when Mr. Fortington, an American, and his wife became tenants, paying Sir Compton £2,020 for the un-expired portion of his lease. The Fortingtons brought over a small car which they used to reach the house from the landing. During the time they
lived in Jethou they built the reservoir and the landing ramp. They left in 1938.
During the war Mr. and Mrs. MacDonald who had remained when Sir Compton Mackenzie left, were allowed to remain in Jethou by the Germans until 1944 when they were ordered to leave—they went to Herm.
During the war the Germans shot down one of their own Junkers 88. It crashed between Jethou and Crevichon exploding its load of bombs. The damage done to the North of the dwelling house was severe and the roof was blown off the old cottage at the rear of the residence.
Mr. Fortington died in Canada during the war and in 1948 his widow sold the lease to Lieutenant Colonel Withycombe, who opened the present Café building as a restaurant and bar, thus being the first tenant to open the Island to the public. In 1954 the Island was raided by the Guernsey Police for serving drinks out of hours.
In 1955 a Mr. Watkins became tenant but left in 1956.
Mr. Stockey followed but also only stayed for two years.
In December 1958 the lease was taken up by Group Captain Cliff, D.S.O. and his wife Margaret. An issue of five stamps was printed in 1960 and have continued to be issued at intervals since that date.
In 1964 the tenancy was taken over by Mrs. Faed and her husband with their four children. Since then a stone jetty has been built and several vergées of land brought into cultivation in addition to that already in daffodils. A cow and calf are being kept and it is hoped to continue growing more food under natural conditions, using only stable manure, seaweed and fish meal. Early potatoes, daffodils and winter broccoli are amongst our exports and we hope to increase the quantities as time goes on.
Facts of Interest concerning Jethou
The Island is the property of the British Crown and is leased to the tenant on an annual rental for a term of years and the lease is transferable.
The tenants rights are those of any tenant of private property, that is to say, visitors are permitted at the tenant’s discretion and the right to refuse permission to land can be exercised at any time and anyone creating a disturbance, spreading litter or behaving in any way to the annoyance or discomfort of other visitors or the tenant’s family or staff will be ejected.
Transistor radios may be used provided they can only be heard at a radius of five yards and may not be used at all in the Café or on the Service boat.
Apart from the Service boat the only communication with Guernsey is by means of the tenant’s radio, which may be used to pass an urgent message, free of charge.
Spring tides occur once a fortnight taking one week to reach their peak and one week to diminish to Neap tides. The average Spring tide range is 25 ft., the Neap tide range about 10ft. The maximum Spring tides occur in the Spring with a range of about 28ft. In early Autumn also the tidal range is very great. These tidal variations, though considerable, are exceeded in the Bristol Channel, in Jersey, and on the Breton and Norman coasts.
If you are here at the time of a Spring tide you will find it interesting to watch the rapidity with which the tide rises, at about half tide it is at the rate of about 7 vertical feet an hour. Crevichon and Fauconnière are both bird sanctuaries and are closed above high water level only, until August, when nesting is over. Should you visit either, the information
on the board on the boat house should be carefully noted— what applies to Crevichon applies also to Fauconnière.
Many shells may be found on the gravel between Jethou and Crevichon and the latter has a sandy beach on the NorthEast.
All Shell-fish is caught in local waters and is kept alive in the sea until required, thus ensuring maximum freshness and flavour.
Dogs are not allowed in the Café and male dogs should be kept on the lead in the vicinity of the Café and all animals are landed at your own risk entirely.
The boat house entrance faces slightly West of North.
One acre is equal to 2½ vergées.
It is absolutely forbidden to pick or uproot any wild or cultivated flowers.
It is dangerous to leave the lower path, except where there is obvious access to the beach.
It is forbidden to attempt to make new paths through the bracken as this would result in despoiling the appearance of the Island and is dangerous on account of numerous rabbit holes.
B. Old Cottage now Storehouse.
C. Old House Ruin.
D. Mulberry Tree.
E. Vegetable garden.
F. Power House (Old Powder Magazine).
|Below is a two sided leaflet my Father had printed in response to repeated queries about what he did during the winter!|
Visitor: “Whatever do you do in the winter, don’t you get bored?”
Me: "There's no time to get bored!"
Look of complete incredulity combined with forced smile, from visitor.
So for the sake of our kind and patient staff, my family and myself, I wrote the following.
A Typical Day in Jethou in Winter Time
7.45 Get up (in dark).
8.30 Proceed to top of Island to milk cow, etc., feeding hens on way.
8.35 Muck-out cowshed, milk cow, feed and water cow and calf, put out to grass if weather O.K.
8.50 Return to house, as it is now quite light, look to see if boat is still on mooring.
9.00 Proceed with painting inside of water storage tanks in wood, an annual task.
10.15 Break for tea.
10.30 Continue with tank job.
11.30 Rain stops job, so cover tank then proceed to top of Island to put cattle in cowshed, since rain looks like lasting and is heavy.
11.45 Start pumping water to reservoir which has had its annual clean out and has to be refilled before March.
11.55 After seeing pump and engine are running correctly (pump is driven by belt, from petrol engine), proceed to service and check electric generator plant.
12.05 Uproar amongst children, endeavour to dispense justice, but as I am not Solomon, no success!
12.15 Pump engine starts racing, dash to it, discover belt has come off, stop engine, top up water tank, replace and wet belt to tighten, restart engine and leave. Just about to enter house when engine stops, due to Gremlin in pump house which operates at intervals and always after leaving, pump house.
12.30 Lunch time.
12.35 Bore wife and children with account of morning’s doings, wife reciprocates.
12.40 Endeavour to discover why children like broccoli sometimes but not others, waste of time.
12.45 Erik (redhead) gets in fury because knife slips.
12.50 Temper of above subsided and momentary peace reigns.
12.55 Weather forecast — useless, of course, and greeted with sneers by me, but I still listen.
13.00 News, try to listen above kids’ chatter, turn up volume to maximum with usual admonition from wife and louder chat from children.
13.15 End of news — (Paisley sounds just like Hitler).
13.20 Children depart five minutes peace with wife and cigarette.
13.25 Help with washing-up.
13.30 Suddenly remember that legs must be put on boat as tide is springing and she will dry on night’s low water, rush down in order to launch dinghy before tide gets too low. Outboard very obstinate to start, proceed to boat, rain increases considerably, put legs on boat, return and just manage to get dinghy on ramp, by this time I am very wet. Pull ramp up into boathouse.
13.50 Suddenly remember water-pump — run up to house (l00 ft.), just in time to prevent pump from seizing up, owing to lack of water.
14.00 Rain stops, sun appears (weather forecast, continuous heavy rain). Decide to put cattle out again as we’re getting short of hay.
14.15 Return to tanks and decide to try and finish painting.
14.35 Black cloud appears, all points to downpour, pack up hastily and cover tank.
14.40 Cloud passed without a drop falling. Screams heard from child, is it temper or injury? Hear wife shouting, “Oh, shut up, it’s Amanda’s anyway." Decide not to interfere.
14.45 Now what? Decide against re-starting painting for third time and realize more gravel is wanted for concrete work.
14.50 Start tractor, proceed to beach, load up with gravel, transfer to ramp, raise ramp to top, unload then drive tractor back off beach. All went smoothly without rain or snags of any sort.
15.40 Remember pump needs attention. Flat out on tractor to house. Pump silent, wife, when picking camellias, noticed clouds of steam coming from pump house, so turned it off. On investigation, no damage, apart from light paint burning.
15.50 Not worth starting anything before tea-break, so decide to have it now.
16.05 Perfect evening, bright sun and quite warm. Decide I must finish tank, uncover again and finish painting apart from where I have to stand, by contorting body, manage to get out without stepping on any paint, lean over side and just manage to reach unpainted spot with brush, very trying on stomach muscles!
16.20 Hear gunshot. Is it that so-and-so in a boat shooting birds again? Investigate. No, it’s an echo of rabbit shooting in Herm.
16.30 Spend half-an-hour pruning hydrangeas in garden.
17.00 Time to milk. Bring cattle in, milk, feed, water and bed down for night. Cow (Amela) in bad mood, behaves like a “Toro” but I escape thrust and tie her up tight as punishment.
17.45 Arrive at house with milk just in time for “Magic Roundabout,” followed by news and weather—more jeers from me.
The Faed Family left Jethou to return to Jersey on the 6th of December 1971